With its bright colors and fairy-tale stories, The Magic Kingdom was designed
to bring out the child in all of us. Epcot, on the other hand, seems to have
been designed for a more adult sensibility. Here education is just as important
as entertainment, and the simple pleasures of a basic ride like Dumbo have
been replaced by more complex and informative attractions.
In Epcot, table service restaurants almost outnumber the fast food joints, and
shopping still means more than picking out a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. Here some
attractions deal with important issues like our dwindling energy supply,
how to feed a growing population, and tomorrow's technology. Clearly,
this ain't Fantasyland.
That is not to say that there's nothing here that will appeal to a toddler. Nemo and Crush in The Seas, the dinosaurs in The Universe of Energy, the live
entertainment in world showcase; all are popular with kids. But be aware that
young children may prefer to take Epcot in smaller doses, since there aren't as many
ways to release their excess energy here, which may lead to restlessness and boredom.
And children aren't the only ones who may, at first, be intimidated by the sheer
scale of the place. Epcot is HUGE. You could take all of the areas in
The Magic Kingdom that are accessible on foot and splash them down in just
the World Showcase lagoon. (The World Showcase Promenade, around the lagoon, is
1.3 miles around. The Walt Disney World Railroad, which encircles the Magic Kingdom
and encompasses large areas you can't reach on foot, like The Rivers of America, is
only 1.5 miles around.) So be ready to walk, and be sure to wear good, comfortable
Epcot is really two parks in one, with a shape like an hourglass or figure "8". The
lower half of the glass is Future World, with the funnel shaped Entrance plaza feeding into
two concentric circles: the two inner half circles of Innoventions, and the outer half
circles of large, subject oriented pavilions. The upper half of the hour glass is
World Showcase, with its individual "countries" arranged in a roughly circular pattern
around the World Showcase Lagoon.
The Entrance Plaza
The parking lot trams, monorail from the TTC, and resort busses all
bring guests to The Entrance Plaza, Epcot's version of Main Street's Town
Square, but without the quaintness. Most of Epcot's basic services are here but, like all of Epcot, they're
rather spread out.
Guest Relations, your stop for information, restaurant reservations (preferred seating),
entertainment schedules, maps, and other services, is just past Spaceship Earth (that big
golf ball shaped building that is Epcot's symbol) on the left as you face Future World.
Lost And Found is outside the entrance plaza with the gift shop on the west side
(to your right as you face the park). If you discover something missing
after you've left the park, you can call (407) 824-4245.
ATM Machines are located at the Entrance Plaza and throughout the park. Don't worry, they want to make it easy for you to spend more money.
There's also a Pet Care Center near the entrance where you can board your animal while enjoying the park. DO NOT LEAVE A PET IN YOUR CAR -- the Florida sun is merciless out there, and a slightly rolled down window does not cut it. Save your pet, and save yourself an animal cruelty charge.
Rental Lockers. You would expect them to be right near the inside of turnstiles, right?
Not quite. They're all the way past Spaceship Earth, on the right as you head toward
Future World. See the attendant for a key -- charges are for all day use and include a small deposit that will be refunded when the key is returned. If you're park hopping in the
same day keep your receipt to get a new locker in the next park.
Stroller and Wheelchair Rental. Located on the east side (to the left as you enter)
of the entrance plaza. Quantities are limited. ECV's (Electric Convenience Vehicles) are
Camera Rental and Film Sales. The Camera Center is just to the right of Spaceship Earth. Film is
also available at other stores in the park, notably at the Kodak sponsored Imagination Pavilion.
Same day developing is also available.
Baby Care Center. It's located on the World Showcase side of Odyssey Center, on the
east side of Showcase Plaza, between Future World and World Showcase.
First Aid Center. Care for minor injuries is available here. Near the Baby Care Center,
Note that the Entrance Plaza is not the only way into the park -- the International Gateway,
the England and France sections, provides access from the Swan, Dolphin, and other nearby
services are also available here.
Epcot: What's In A Name? A Short History